Shirey Flats, TX

Shirey Flats, TX

 

SHIREY FLATS, WARD COUNTY, TEXAS

 

John D. Seebach

 

            Shirey Flats (41WR11) is an extensive surface artifact scatter stretching across nearly six square kilometers of the Pyote Flats dunefield in western Ward County, Texas. The great majority of tools in a privately owned collection from the site are Paleoindian in age. Folsom/Midland forms predominate, with Cody complex artifacts also well represented. Clovis and Plainview artifacts are present in lesser quantities, as are Middle and Late Archaic diagnostics. A large survey was carried out at the site during June 2001; pedestrian crews surveyed a total of 2,900 square meters.

 

ARTIFACT TOTALS AT SURVEY COMPLETION

FCR/BC

Flakes

Tools

87.99156 kg

2,588

80

 

            Preliminary analysis of the remains collected during the survey suggests that Shirey Flats was a repeatedly occupied camp area. The archaeological record from the site bespeaks numerous short-term occupations with retooling and raw material procurement from the Pecos River gravels predominant activities. The lowlands of the Pyote Flats to the south may have held permanent water during prehistory, making the locality favorable to prehistoric foragers. Likewise, the site sits at the ecotone between the basin and range province to the west and the Llano Estacado to the north and east, providing a number of food resources (bison on the plains, plants and small mammals in the basin and range and Pecos River Valley) for subsistence. Currently, Shirey Flats is considered to be on a natural topographic exit and entryway into and out of the Trans-Pecos. On a clear day, the Davis Mountains to the south and west are visible from Shirey Flats. Assuming the same view was available to prehistoric foragers, the mountains could have functioned as a guide into the basin and range. Likewise, the Pecos River may have functioned in a similar fashion. Analysis of raw material use throughout the region may suggest routes of prehistoric migration out of the Pecos River area and onto the Plains.